KYW (1060 kHz) is a commercial AM radio station licensed to serve Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It is one of the oldest radio stations in America, having spent time in Chicago and Cleveland. KYW's unusual history includes its call sign of only three letters, beginning with a K, rare for a station in the east. It broadcasts an all-news radio format and is branded as "KYW Newsradio 1060" (pronounced Ten-Sixty). KYW is owned by Bala Cynwyd-based Entercom. Its studios are located in Center City, Philadelphia. The transmitter and two-tower directional antenna array are located in Lafayette Hill.
|Broadcast area||Delaware Valley (Southeast Pennsylvania, South Jersey, Northern Delaware)|
|Branding||KYW Newsradio 1060|
|Slogan||All News, and All that Matters to You|
|Frequency||1060 kHz (also on HD Radio)|
|Repeater(s)||94.1 MHz (WIP-FM-HD2)|
|First air date||November 11, 1921(in Chicago, moved to Philadelphia in 1934)|
|Class||A (Clear channel)|
|Transmitter coordinates||Coordinates: (NAD27)|
|Callsign meaning||Randomly assigned by the Department of Commerce|
|Former callsigns||KYW-KFKX (1928–1933)|
|Affiliations||CBS News Radio|
Westwood One News
(Entercom License, LLC)
|Sister stations||WBEB, WIP-FM, WOGL, WPHT, WTDY-FM|
KYW is a 50,000–watt Class A clear channel station. With a good radio, its nighttime signal can be heard in much of the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada. But it restricts its signal to the southwest to protect XEEP in Mexico City, which shares Class A status on AM 1060. It is also restricted to the northeast to protect WEPN in New York City, another 50,000–watt station, only one dial position away at AM 1050. KYW uses HD Radio on its AM signal around the clock.[note 1] The station's programming is also available via a simulcast on the HD2 subchannel of sister station WIP-FM 94.1.
Origin in Chicago (1921)Edit
In November 1920, the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Company established its first broadcasting station, KDKA, located at its plant in East Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to promote the sales of it radio receivers. This initial station proved successful, so in 1921 the company developed plans to set up additional stations in major population centers, including WJZ in Newark, New Jersey (now WABC in New York City), and WBZ, originally in Springfield, Massachusetts, and now in Boston. It also wanted to start a station in Chicago.
The Westinghouse station was first licensed on November 15, 1921, as Chicago's first broadcasting outlet, with the randomly assigned call letters of KYW. At first, it was jointly operated by Westinghouse and Commonwealth Edison, with Westinghouse later taking over as sole operator. Through the financial support of Samuel Insull, and the cooperation of Mary Garden, director general of the Chicago Opera Company, KYW's initial broadcasts consisted of the opera company's entire six-day-a-week winter season schedule. Ten microphones were installed across the Chicago Civic Auditorium stage, with equipment for switching between them as needed. After the close of the opera season, KYW installed a studio in the Commonwealth Edison building, and began producing additional programming. By fall of 1922 the station was operating for twelve hours a day.
In 1927, Westinghouse affiliated its four radio stations (KYW, KDKA in Pittsburgh, WBZ in Springfield and WBZA in Boston) with the National Broadcasting Company's (NBC) Blue Network, originating from WJZ in New York City, which had been transferred from Westinghouse to the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) in 1923. Westinghouse had been a founding partner of RCA, NBC's original parent company.
In 1923, Westinghouse established a station, KFKX in Hastings, Nebraska, located near the center of the country. The station was designed to serve a dual purpose, of providing an agricultural service, and for testing the practicality of using shortwave transmitters to link together radio networks, with KFKX receiving much of its programming by shortwave from KDKA in Pittsburgh. In 1928 the project was abandoned, although it was announced that the KFKX programming was being consolidated with KYW. Westinghouse now controlled two stations in addition to KYW in the Chicago area: KFKX and WEBH. On September 1, 1928 the Federal Radio Commission (FRC) ordered that their operations should be consolidated. WEBH was deleted, and the other two stations were merged, with a dual call letter assignment of KYW-KFKX, although the latter call sign would be rarely if ever used. On May 15, 1933, after the FRC requested that stations using only one of their assigned call letters drop those that were no longer in regular use, KFKX was eliminated and the station reverted to just KYW.
Move to Philadelphia (1934)Edit
Under the provisions of the FRC's General Order 40, a sweeping reallocation of station frequency assignments was implemented on November 11, 1928. KYW was assigned to the clear channel frequency of 1020 kHz, but the assignment caused two major problems. KYW's signal on the new frequency experienced difficulties in covering the entire city of Chicago. A relay transmitter, KYWA, was set up in late 1928, although it was no longer needed by the spring of 1930. A second issue was that, under the provisions of the "Davis Amendment", eight clear channel frequencies were to be allocated to each of five national regions. Chicago was located in Region 4, while the reallocation provisions had reserved 1020 kHz for use in Region 2, a grouping of mid-Atlantic states.
Westinghouse fought a long legal battle, attempting to keep KYW operating as a clear channel station on 1020 in Chicago. Finally it proposed moving the station to a Region 2 location, settling on Philadelphia. However, numerous other stations made alternative proposals to be assigned this allocation, and the matter was placed in the hands of an FRC examiner, who held hearings in July 1932 to sort through 23 conflicting applications from 16 stations. Examiner Pratt's recommendation concluded that KYW's willingness to move to Philadelphia was the best possible outcome.
After broadcasting its last program in Chicago on December 2, 1934, KYW aired its debut Philadelphia program the next day. Westinghouse used the studios and sales operations of WCAU. The move made KYW the easternmost U.S. radio station with a call sign beginning with "K". KYW became Philadelphia's NBC-Blue Network outlet, an affiliation that lasted 20 years. The move supplanted WFI and WLIT (which merged as WFIL in 1935, as the Blue Network affiliate. In 1938 KYW's studios were located at 1619 Walnut Street in Center City.
On March 29, 1941, KYW's clear channel assignment was shifted from 1020 to 1060 kHz, its current frequency, as part of a nationwide adjustment of assignments engineered by the North American Regional Broadcasting Agreement (NARBA). In 1942, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) compelled RCA to divest itself of one of its two radio networks. Prior to the divestiture of the NBC-Blue network (which became the American Broadcasting Company), KYW, along with the other Westinghouse radio stations, became affiliated with the NBC-Red Network, predecessor of modern-day NBC. Also in 1942, KYW added an FM station at 47.5 megacycles, KYW-FM. It largely simulcast KYW's programming and later moved to 92.5 MHz, when the FM dial was shifted. But development of FM radio was slow and Westinghouse decided to shut down KYW-FM in 1955.
KYW Cleveland/WRCV Philadelphia (1956-1965)Edit
In June 1955, Westinghouse agreed to trade 1060 KYW and Channel 3 WPTZ to NBC, in exchange for the NBC's Cleveland properties: 1100 WTAM, 105.7 WTAM-FM and Channel 3 WNBK. Westinghouse also received $3 million in cash compensation. The main impetus for the trade was NBC's desire to acquire an owned-and-operated TV station in the fourth-largest American television market. NBC had to receive a waiver for the swap because 1060 KYW and NBC Radio's New York City flagship, 660 WRCA (now WFAN) were both clear channel stations. At the time, the FCC normally did not allow common ownership of clear channel stations with overlapping nighttime coverage. After clearing the final regulatory hurdles, the swap went into effect on January 22, 1956.
On February 13, NBC changed KYW's call letters in Philadelphia to WRCV (for the RCA-Victor record label). At the same time, Westinghouse changed the call letters of its new Cleveland station from WTAM to KYW. The Westinghouse-NBC station swap, and its subsequent reversal nine years later, resulted in two alternate ways to recount KYW's history. In the records of the FCC, the station in Philadelphia on 1060 kHz merely underwent two call letter and ownership changes, taking place in 1956 and 1965. However most KYW histories follow the path of the call letters, and refer to KYW moving from Philadelphia to Cleveland in 1956, then returning to Philadelphia nine years later.
Based on its responsibilities as an NBC-owned outlet, WRCV carried all of NBC's network programming, such as the weekend Monitor magazine-style program. Philadelphia radio legend Hy Lit briefly worked at WRCV during the first year of NBC ownership, hosting a local rock-and-roll program and an adult standards show for the NBC network. WRCV adopted a big band format featuring swing music popular during the pre-rock era.
Return to Philadelphia (1965)Edit
Almost immediately after the NBC-Westinghouse trade was finalized, Westinghouse complained to the FCC and the United States Department of Justice that it had been coerced into making the station swap, including a threat by NBC to revoke Westinghouse's NBC-TV affiliations. A lengthy investigation was launched. In September 1959 the Justice Department issued a decision which, in part, instructed NBC to divest WRCV-AM-TV by the end of 1962. Several months later in early 1960, NBC announced it would trade its Philadelphia stations to RKO General in exchange for that company's Boston outlets, 680 WNAC, 98.5 WNAC-FM and Channel 7 WNAC-TV. That proposed station swap was held up for nearly four years until the FCC issued a final decision in August 1964. The Commission renewed NBC's licenses for WRCV radio and television, on the condition that the 1956 station swap with Westinghouse be reversed. RKO General initially contested the FCC's decision, but soon gave up its efforts and bowed out of the competition. Following nearly a year of appeals by NBC, Westinghouse regained control of WRCV-AM-TV on June 19, 1965 and subsequently restored the KYW call letters to the radio station. The television station became KYW-TV at this point.
On September 21, 1965, shortly after Westinghouse regained control of 1060 AM, the newly revived KYW dropped its NBC radio affiliation. It became one of the first radio stations in the country to switch to an all-news radio format. Newscaster Steve Porter read the first newscast, which had been edited by Fred B. Walters, the former Harrisburg bureau chief and eventual Executive Editor. The new format was part of Westinghouse's decision to put all-news formats on its large market AM stations. Five months earlier the company had converted 1010 WINS from a Top 40 format to all-news. A third conversion was made three years later at another Westinghouse-owned station, KFWB in Los Angeles. The Westinghouse trio of all-news stations made numerous contributions to developing the all-news format.
In 1972, KYW moved to new studios in Independence Mall East, at Fifth and Market streets, where they would remain for the next 35 years.
KYW has long been a leader in the Philadelphia radio market, although its audience has naturally reduced due to the decline of AM as a whole. KYW-TV took advantage of the radio station's popularity by incorporating a version of KYW's musical sounder into its news themes from 1991 to 2003. In addition, a television simulcast of KYW's 5 to 8 a.m. block called KYW Newsradio 1060 This Morning aired on co-owned Channel 57 WPSG in the early 2000s, adapting KYW's "news blocks" to television. KYW anchors and reporters were seen on morning television delivering the news.
Changes in ownershipEdit
In 1995, Westinghouse Electric announced its purchase of CBS. Upon its completion KYW became a sister station to its long-time rival, CBS-owned AM 1210 WGMP, for decades known as WCAU Radio, now WPHT. That station, under its original WCAU call letters, had attempted during the late 1970s to compete with KYW with all-news programming,. The effort failed, with WCAU switching to a talk format after a three-year effort.
From 1986 to 1998, KYW used the C-QUAM AM Stereo system, but abandoned stereo broadcasts about the time of the CBS-Westinghouse merger and went back to standard monophonic broadcasts. The station has been using the HD Radio digital system created by iBiquity since 2007 after an initial testing period.
In March 2007, the studios moved one half-block to 400 Market Street in Center City Philadelphia, which allowed for the construction of the National Museum of American Jewish History. In March 2014, 1060 KYW relocated to 1555 Hamilton Street in Philadelphia, joining KYW-TV on the 6th floor. This is referred to on-air as the "CBS Broadcast Center."
In November 2017, CBS Radio merged with Entercom, which is based in suburban Bala Cynwyd. Entercom had never previously owned a station in its home market. The transaction separated KYW from its television counterparts, and marked the first time since its establishment that KYW has not been owned by a direct descendent of Westinghouse.
Notable on-air staffEdit
- Rich Gunning: Traffic and Transit
- Some AM stations use HD Radio only during daytime hours, per Barry McLarnon's AM IBOC page (see references below).
- United States Callsign Policies, United States Early Radio History.
- McLarnon, Barry (July 27, 2016). "AM IBOC Stations on the Air". Retrieved 2018-03-21.
- https://hdradio.com/station_guides/widget.php?id=16 HD Radio Guide for Philadelphia
- Radio: Miracle of the 20th century by Frederick E. Drinker and James G. Lewis, M. E., 1922, page 10.
- Limited Commercial license, serial #241, call letters KYW, issued November 15, 1921 to the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company in Chicago, for a one year period.
- A Tower in Babel by Eric Barnouw, 1966, pages 88-89.
- "Radio Has Gripped Chicago" by George P. Stone, Radio Broadcast, October 1922, pages 503-511.
- Annual Report of the Federal Radio Commission For the Year Ended June 30, 1928, page 162.
- "Strike out all particulars" Radio Service Bulletin, November 30, 1928, page 12.
- "Double Call Letters Are Being Eliminated", Washington (D.C.) Evening Star, June 25, 1933, Part 4, page 6.
- "KYW Philadelphia" (advertisement), Broadcasting, December 1, 1934, page 19.
- "The KYW Story" (talk given by Joseph Baudino to the Philadelphia Broadcast Pioneers).
- "Removal of KYW to Philadelphia Urged by Pratt as Solution to 1020 kc. Mixup", Broadcasting, November 15, 1932, page 12.
- "New KYW Opens December 3rd (page 4)" (PDF). The Microphone. 24 November 1934. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
- KYW is currently one of three "K" stations in Pennsylvania on the AM band, in addition to KDKA and KQV, both in Pittsburgh. There does not appear to be any reason why KYW and KQV were assigned "K" call letters. At the time both were first licensed, the Department of Commerce had a standard policy for broadcast stations of "K's in the west, W's in the east" that dated back to the start of licensing in late 1912, and has been generally followed ever since. KDKA was first licensed during a short anomaly when new land stations briefly shared a block of call letters that were normally reserved for ship stations.
- Philadelphia Daily News, June 14, 1940.
- Broadcasting Yearbook 1944 page 440
- "Westinghouse buys WPTZ (TV) for record $8.5 million", Broadcasting - Telecasting, February 23, 1953, page 27.
- "NBC, WBC trade properties in Cleveland, Philadelphia", Broadcasting - Telecasting, May 23, 1955, pages 65-66, 68.
- "NBC, Westinghouse complete exchange", Broadcasting - Telecasting, January 30, 1956, page 59.
- Ibid. "Mr. Sarnoff noted that NBC's parent, RCA, and RCA Victor 'have been closely identified with the Philadelphia-Camden area for many years. It is for this reason that NBC has chosen WRCV and WRCV-TV as the call letters for its Philadelphia stations.'"
- "NBC, WBC outlets change calls today", Broadcasting - Telecasting, February 13, 1956, page 98.
- "The History of KYW Newsradio", which details the evolution of the station from Chicago, to Philadelphia, to Cleveland and back to Philadelphia (philadelphia.cbslocal.com)
- "NBC-Westinghouse swap approved; FCC stirs Justice Dept. interest", Broadcasting - Telecasting, January 2, 1956, page 58.
- "Justice Dept. hauls NBC into court", Broadcasting - Telecasting, December 10, 1956, pages 27-32.
- "Now TV has a consent decree" and "What RCA-NBC consented to", Broadcasting, September 28, 1959, pages 35-36, 38, 40.
- "NBC swap with RKO taking shape", Broadcasting, January 25, 1960, page 52.
- "Philadelphia circle is complete," and "Nine-year history of that trade in Philadelphia", Broadcasting, August 3, 1964, pages 23, 24, 25.
- "RKO gives up on Philadelphia", Broadcasting, June 7, 1965, pages 78, 79.
- "The great swap takes place June 19; Westinghouse, NBC return to original properties", Broadcasting, June 14, 1965, page 83.
- "WBC turning KYW into all-news plant", Broadcasting, June 21, 1965, page 9.
- "The toughest test of all-news format", Broadcasting, April 19, 1965, page 76.
- "Dry run precedes KFWB's switch to all news", Broadcasting, March 11, 1968, page 66.
- Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook 1996 page B-361
- "Offenders of The Faith" (Former C-QUAM stereo stations)
- "End Of An Era As Industry Bids Goodbye to CBS Radio". Inside Radio. 2017-11-17. Retrieved 2017-11-19.
- Cynthia Littleton (2 February 2017). "CBS Sets Radio Division Merger With Entercom". Variety. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
- Reuters (2017-02-02). "CBS and Entercom Are Merging Their Radio Stations". Fortune. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
- Venta, Lance (November 17, 2017). "Entercom Completes CBS Radio Merger". Radio Insight. Retrieved November 17, 2017.
- Official website
- Query the FCC's AM station database for KYW
- Radio-Locator Information on KYW
- Query Nielsen Audio's AM station database for KYW
- FCC History Cards for KYW (covering 1927-1981)
- RecNet query for KYW[dead link]
- "History of KYW", talk by Joseph Baudino, September 24, 1975 (broadcastpioneers.com)